Loose Parts - an Experiment

It was a Thursday and our usual day for a staff meeting. The toddlers were sleeping.  On a good day, if they all stayed asleep we could chat and discuss for 45 minutes or so.  On this particular day there were only two out of three of the staff team there, but we decided to have our meeting anyway. 
 I shared with my co-worker that I had seen a "loose parts" table on Pinterest and we talked about what it might look like in our room to use more loose parts.  Neither of us had actually done something like this and in some ways it felt kind of radical and exciting and somehow very right. 
In case the theory of "loose parts" is new to you, I found an article I like that explains about using loose parts for play.  You can find it here.

Some of the items we put out were:  Metal rings linked together.  Metal rings linked with bells on the end.  Wooden, crocheted and metal coasters.  A pretty cardboard box and a metal bowl.  Some bottles with items inside.  A long mardi gras chain and some family pictures.  

Below is the table on a different day with a few other loose parts from around the room.  I see a wooden egg cup and a metal basket that may have come from the kitchen area.  I see some laminated photos.

                          Some of the things they did with the "loose parts."  


They put things in and on.  The tin cans were from the block and construction area.  We had as many tin cans as blocks.  They could be found all over the room as play happened throughout the day.

We found the metal rings hanging here regularly.  It's a good thing to do with rings, don't you think?

We left these items out for a long time.  We wanted the children to use them for as long as they liked and were interested.  Some items were left out for months.  The mardi gras chain for example, was put out in December and left out until the early summer.  

One time we decided to put out some magnets with the tin cans and other metal items on the loose parts table. 

These were very young children who figured out that magnets could stick to the metal under the table. 

We came to the conclusion that using loose parts in our room was the best decision for the children in our care.  We were constantly amazed at what they thought to do and how they used different items.

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